Avoid the Creep-Factor of Personalization in Digital Marketing

Creep Factor Website

Our previous post discussed how personalization has become increasingly essential to securing growth and customer loyalty for a modern business. While undeniably effective in marketing outreach, personalization can be taken to an extreme—one where attention to or communication with a brand audience could become intrusive or even “creepy.”

For instance, if you receive an email for a back-to-school sale a few weeks before your children start-up classes again, that can be a timely and relevant. However, if that same email somehow listed all of their favorite snacks and mentioned your habit of putting a personal note in their lunchboxes, you might start checking around the house for hidden cameras.

Without proper balance in a marketing personalization strategy, content can become:

  • Annoying
  • Creepy
  • Intrusive
  • Tone-deaf

Certainly not ways you want your brand described. At best, it can get your marketing ignored. At worst, it can get you blocked for all future outreach.

More than 25% of internet users currently block advertising on their connected devices. This figure is expected to keep growing.1
– Statista, Users Ad-Blocking 2014-2021

Yet remaining relevant is still critical for your marketing, as customers don’t want to be bombarded with products or services they have no interest in. And remember that research shows customers being willing to submit personal data if it provides a more personalized shopping experience. So how do you find that balance?

  • Utilize data properly – Use data only for the explicit purposes for which it was collected.
  • Respect and secure private data – Data breaches are increasingly common and are now a major reason why customers will ditch one brand over another. If a company can’t be trusted to do all it can to protect customer data, that will result in plenty of lost loyalty (and revenue).
  • Avoid over-specificity – In other words, err on the side of keeping your messaging general appropriate with the right level of detail it employs. Even if you have precise private customer data, none of it should be referenced in communication. You can still use that data to target an audience at appropriate times, but the individual data points shouldn’t be included in any content.
  • Don’t spam – Successful marketing is often about proper timing, priming an audience to respond to outreach when they’re ready to do so in addition to trying to force immediate action by overloading them with CTAs and offers. While consistent communication is good for building brand awareness, “less is more” is an excellent strategic approach for content scheduling and timing. This approach may require additional campaign analysis to pin down the best touchpoint frequency for your business and audience demographic.
  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/804008/ad-blocking-reach-usage-us
  2. http://dmcny.org/avoiding-the-creepy-factor-in-personalization
  3. https://www.cmbinfo.com/insights/personalization-privacy-and-the-creep-factor/